Blading isn’t just for the kids anymore. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the full-body muscle-building, fun-filled workout sessions, and comforting nostalgia provided by taking some fresh blades to the pavement – which means that it might be time for you to think about adding it to your own routine, too.
Rollerblading, also referred to as in-line skating, is a great cardiovascular workout that hits all of the major muscle groups. Of course the legs are a big focus, but don’t discount the benefits that the workout also delivers for your core and back muscles from constant balancing. The abductors on your outer thigh, the adductors of your inner thigh, the quads, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and calf muscles are all hard at work when you’re skating. Plus, there are the gains to your upper body as you continually pump your arms as you glide along. Needless to say, rollerblading is a full body workout.
Because of the rhythmic aerobic muscle action required in skating, muscles demand oxygen replenishment to regenerate adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the source of muscular contraction. When your muscles need more oxygen, your blood has to pump faster and harder. The greater the size and number of muscles involved in an exercise, the greater the demand on your cardiovascular system.
Skating is also a great alternative form of cardio for people with sensitive joints or trouble running on pavement. The fluid gliding motion of rollerblading reduces the grating effects of repeated impact, placing less pressure on the bones and tendons in the joints than other, harsher types of cardio exercises.
Before we send you on your merry, rolling way, we give you a few final things to keep in mind. First, when you’re just starting out, start with a basic rollerblading workout to keep things nice and easy as you get used to it. Secondly, knee and elbow pads are super helpful in mitigating the effects of falls, and a helmet is always a good idea when you’re moving at fast speeds (we know, we know – you don’t love how they look, but safety is key). Finally, practice starting, stopping, and turning at low speeds until you’re comfortable enough to up the ante, and take it easy when it comes to speeding up in the meantime. As you gain confidence on your new wheels, you can move to more intense full-body exercises, or focus on specific muscle groups with targeted attacks.
Ready to give it a spin? Here are the best in-line skates for men, women, and children so you can get the whole family out on the open (read: safely enclosed) road.